Bankrupt Billionaire Sam Wyly, Family Settle SEC Fraud Suit

  • Agreement to pay $198 million follows 6-year court fight
  • Ruling is a win for IRS and SEC in case over offshore fraud

Former billionaire Samuel Wyly’s six-year battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission neared conclusion after he agreed to pay $198 million to settle a fraud suit the agency won against him and his late brother Charles two years ago.

The amount is exactly what a New York judge ordered Wyly to disgorge after a jury agreed the brothers had used a web of offshore trusts to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in cash while getting rich building the arts-and-craft chain Michaels Stores Inc. and other companies.

The SEC said in a Manhattan federal court filing Friday it would do its best to incorporate the settlement into a global accord with the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service, which it said are still in negotiations with Wyly. The IRS had been seeking more than $2 billion in back taxes and penalties after the SEC won its fraud case.

Under the deal, Sam Wyly will take whatever legal steps are needed to get disbursements from his various trusts in the Isle of Man to help finance the settlement and pay it by Dec. 12. Wyly will also drop his appeal of the 2014 jury verdict, and the SEC will drop his children as "relief defendants" in the case, according to the filing.

Wyly’s lawyer, Josiah Daniel, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the settlement. SEC spokeswoman Erin Stattel declined to comment.

Charles died in a car accident in 2011, a year after the case was filed but before the trial got under way.

Bankruptcy Move

Sam Wyly and Charles Wyly’s widow, Caroline “Dee” Wyly, filed for bankruptcy after the SEC’s 2014 victory, leading to another drawn-out court battle over how much the agencies could claim in the Chapter 11 cases.

The Wylys have had repeated setbacks in court since then, with a judge rejecting attempts to hold onto various assets and even denying Sam Wyly’s attempt to spare his $12 million Texas mansion from being sold to creditors.

The Dallas bankruptcy judge who has been overseeing the case must approve the SEC settlement before it can be finalized.

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